You can't put the future on hold

Greg Ferro recently participated in an “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit. In that thread, user “1DumbQuestion” made this comment:

Last, never finished my CCIE because of what I perceive will happen with SDN in the next coming years.

I’ve seen similar comments from others over the last couple of years. This concerns me because it seems that people are saying “There’s too much change going on here, and I don’t know how it will all work out. So I’ll just do nothing.”

Don’t be one of those people.

You should take a hard look at your career, and try to understand where the industry is going. If you think that CCIE study is not the best use of your time, that’s fine. But you should make a conscious choice about that. Crucially, you must decide where else to invest your time and energy.

If you firmly believe that networking will change dramatically over the next few years, then take active steps to prepare yourself. Think about your current skills, and where you have gaps. Maybe you need to learn more about Linux. Maybe it’s configuration management, or Python scripting. Put your time into that instead. But don’t do nothing. Technology keeps progressing, and you need to be aware of how it’s changing.

If you’re waiting for SDN to become ‘standardised’ and the ‘new normal’ for networking, then you risk missing out on the interesting work. By the time it becomes ‘normal,’ much of the value will have been extracted. You’ll be left doing the dull BAU tasks. Better to try to be ahead of the game.

Finally, don’t forget that core protocols still matter. Most of our networks will be using these for many years to come. You’ll be better placed to embrace changes in networking if you understand the current options and their limitations. CCIE-level study is still one of the best ways to do this. If you’re well on your way with CCIE study, don’t give up yet.